Sports Direct has lost its stakes in rivals JD Sports Fashion and Blacks Leisure as the administrator of collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing took control of the holdings.
The statement followed a similar announcement yesterday by JD Sports, in which Sports Direct had an 11% stake.
Ownership of the shares had been disputed following the Icelandic financial meltdown last year. The bank had helped finance Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley’s purchases of the holdings and held gurantees over them.
Ernst & Young, the liquidator to Kaupthing, has applied to a judge for a ruling that Sports Direct does not own the shares, allowing Blacks and JD to notify the stock market that the shares had changed hands.
Sports Direct had already written off the £53m value of the stakes, but still contests ownership.The retailer said this morning that it “reaffirms that it is continues to resist any effort by the administrator of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander to appropriate Sports Direct’s strategic investments, including those in Blacks Leisure and JD Sports.
“Sports Direct is in the process of taking an action against Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander and its administrators, Ernst & Young. Those parties are aware of our determination to protect and vindicate our legal rights and the situation remains ongoing.”
Blacks, which has put its Sandcity boardwear division into administration, has days to secure the continued backing of its banks and wants to shed unprofitable stores via a company voluntary arrangement.
Sports Direct, which is 71% owned by Mike Ashley, made an approach to buy Blacks in March. Simon Bentley, chairman of Sports Direct, is understood to be plotting a return to Blacks where he was previously chief executive. However, the loss of Sports Direct’s 29% stake in Blacks will make his return more difficult.